Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced plans Thursday to increase funding and access to mental health services as the city continues to battle the coronavirus crisis.
Lightfoot announced the Chicago Department of Public Health will partner with four leading community mental health organizations and give $1.2 million in funding to expand access for people living with serious illnesses like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or co-occurring disorders. Those organizations include Friend Health, Healthcare Alternative Systems, Thresholds, and Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare.
“These teams will provide services to persons who may benefit from a higher level of support and will increase community-based mental health services in communities of highest need across Chicago,” CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady said in a statement. “This is so important right now because COVID-19 can exacerbate pre-existing vulnerabilities in those with mental health conditions.”
The city's health department also purchased doxy.me, a telemedicine platform, to bring digital behavioral health services to centers in the Bronzeville, Englewood, West Elsdon, Lawndale and North River neighborhoods.
A microsite was also launched to bring talks, guided mindfulness activities and sleep supports from wellness experts to residents.
“The COVID-19 crisis has been hard on all of us and its challenges have taken many forms – including challenges to our mental health,” Lightfoot said. “The issues we’re addressing now didn’t start when COVID-19 hit our city, and they aren’t going to end with it either. We will continue to work with our city’s advocates, experts, patients and communities to enhance mental healthcare in Chicago and give our residents and families the support many so desperately need.”